By Anthony James Kubiak
From the earliest Puritan screens of piety and rectitude to the present-day epidemic of staged university massacres, the background of the USA has been characterised by means of a twin impulse: to solid public occasion and personality as excessive drama, and to brush aside theater and theatricalization as un-American, even evil. This e-book rethinks American heritage as theater, and theater because the ethos and substance of yankee existence, satirically repudiated at each flip by means of the tradition it produces. starting with the writings of John Winthrop and others, during the Federalist and ''romantic'' phases of yankee cultural lifestyles, and into the fashionable and modern sessions, Anthony Kubiak unearths an the United States now not often stumbled on by way of conventional or materialist techniques to background. He deploys the psychoanalytic conception of Jacques Lacan, the cultural thought of SlavojZizek, and the functionality conception of Herbert Blau in an exceptional reappraisal of dominant American id, tradition, and historical past. Anthony Kubiak is affiliate Professor of English, college of South Florida. he's additionally writer of phases of Terror: Terrorism, Ideology, and Coercion as Theatre historical past .
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Additional info for Agitated States: Performance in the American Theater of Cruelty
Witness such an intimate occur- rence? This is the reason, one might at first suppose, for the use of Latin, but while such phrasing might elude the prying eyes of his fiancee or other uneducated women or men, it would certainly not fool his audi- ence of colleagues or students, who were required to converse in Latin while at Harvard College. Finally, when he gets to the point of actually naming the disease, he becomes almost coy and calls it "Gon," suggest- ing in the word itself, gone/Gon, a Freudian fort/da, a double desire for both concealment and revelation, or, in the excretio seminis, the hysteri- cal desire to externalize the seminal, the primal repression.
This was certainly the case with Artaud, who created virtually no theater in his life, a situation that Michel Foucault cites as the root cause of his madness-a closed the- atricalized consciousness that finds no escape through mise-en-scene to the "real" stage. In the case of the Puritans, theater, though absent as an institution, nonetheless acts in the interior as a kind of performance feedback loop that forms the very basis of morality. One is constantly assessing and reassessing how one acts in order to ascertain if one has acted well.
These writers were each caught up within the epistemologies of gaze and enunciation, albeit in quite differ- ent ways. " The "hauntology" of gaze and act and speech, absent from the stages of American theater, appears in the stories and novels that invoke it, while its most harrowing manifes- tation as real theater, Artaud's theater of cruelty, appears in the infinite plications of the minstrel show. Here the cultural, political issue is less the appearance of ideology than ideologies of appearance.